The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will further reduce the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee starting this weekend.
Under the Corps’ water control plan, the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), flows to the Caloosahatchee will now be calculated at the W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam (S-79) east of Fort Myers. The new target flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary from Franklin Lock is 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and includes runoff that collects in the Caloosahatchee River between Moore Haven and the lock. The new target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 1,170 cfs as measured at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) near Stuart. The new target flows will be effective at 7 a.m. Friday.
Additionally, the Corps is changing its discharge regiment to a 10-day pulse release in both directions, resulting in a daily variation of actual flows. However, the average flow over the 10-day period should reflect the target of 3,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and 1,170 cfs to the St. Lucie. Should heavy rain develop in either basin, resulting runoff may cause the targets to be exceeded as water is allowed to pass through the lock and dam structures.
“Drier conditions in August have helped the lake fall into our preferred range,” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “However, the lake is still elevated for this time of year. A significant storm in the next few weeks that causes a rise in the lake could put us in the position of having to increase flows from the lake again.”
The current lake level is 15.44 feet. Under LORS, the Corps strives to keep the lake level between 12.5 and 15.5 feet. The Corps will closely monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary.
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management page at the Jacksonville District website:
Release no. 13-069